When: Friday, December 30, 2016
Where: Liberty Bowl, Memphis, Tenn.
Time: 12:00 p.m., ET
Live Stream: WatchESPN, WatchESPN apps
Spread: The Bulldogs are a slight one-point favorite. Keep checking back for changes.
Records ATS: Georgia 5-7 | TCU 3-9
Inside the Numbers (via Football Study Hall)
|S&P+ Offense||24.9 (93rd)||33.8 (41st)|
|S&P+ Defense||24.6 (36th)||27.0 (44th)|
|Rushing S&P+ Offense||96.3 (89th)||106.1 (50th)|
|Rushing S&P+ Defense||115 (24th)||103.2 (57th)|
|Rush Success Rate Offense||44.2 (58th)||49.1 (15th)|
|Rush Success Rate Defense||40.1 (39th)||41.7 (52nd)|
|Passing S&P+ Offense||91.1 (93rd)||94.2 (88th)|
|Passing S&P+ Defense||111.6 (28th)||115.1 (24th)|
|Pass Success Rate Offense||37.2 (101st)||41.8 (53rd)|
|Pass Success Rate Defense||36.5 (23rd)||37.9 (39th)|
Players to Watch
QB Jacob Eason: Georgia’s freshman quarterback had a pretty good debut season. He also led a couple of game-winning drives, proving he was clutch. Georgia’s passing offense wasn’t always sharp, though, as evidenced by its rankings. However, Eason is capable of the big play. If Eason can find Isaiah McKenzie down the field in this one, the Bulldogs could have a big day offensively. Eason will take some chances.
RB Nick Chubb: The ‘Dawgs received a big boost for 2017 when Chubb announced his intentions to return next fall. Now, Georgia would love to see vintage Chubb just in time for the bowl game. Chubb has maintained all year the injury hasn’t bothered him. And he’s probably right. He hasn’t exactly lost a step, Georgia’s offensive line struggles to run block. TCU’s front seven is average, so Chubb could have a big day.
QB Kenny Hill: TCU’s offense isn’t as prolific in 2016 with Kenny Hill under center as it was in previous seasons with Trevone Boykin. That isn’t completely Hill’s fault. TCU has lost some weapons and overall, isn’t as complete of a unit. Hill completed 60 percent of his passes this season with 15 touchdowns. However, Hill also had 13 interceptions and was sacked 23 times. Georgia will present a challenge for Hill. The Horned Frogs should use Hill’s feet to get the offense going.
LB Travin Howard: The Frogs have a good group of linebackers and All Big-12 first-teamer Travin Howard leads the group. TCU was strong against the run until late in the year. This group is more than capable of shutting Georgia’s rush offense down. Howard led the Big 12 in tackles and is always around the football. That’s not good news for Chubb or Sony Michel. Howard, a former safety, is strong in coverage, too. He’s an outstanding player
So, what happens?
As far as SEC bowl games go, this may be the toughest one to call. Georgia is a difficult team to forecast. The Bulldogs struggled with Nicholls State at home and lost to Vanderbilt in Athens.
On paper, this one looks pretty even. Georgia has the better skill players, while these teams are about even defensively. The biggest question is can Georgia’s O-line open up holes for Chubb and Michel?
Expect Eason to make a few big plays and Chubb will have a solid game. He won’t crack 100 yards, though.
Kenny Hill will do just enough with his feet to open up a few big plays deep and keep this one close.
However, in the end, the Bulldogs will force a couple of turnovers to win this game late.
Prediction: Georgia 24, TCU 20